Ojai Orange.com | home | archives | press | contact us

Ojai Orange | The Column of Lasting Insignificance | Books | Wait-A-Minute

September 12, 2009
John Wilcock - January 5, 2008

 

  The column of lasting insignificance  
       


also posted:



2011
November 26 2011
November 19, 2011
November 12, 2011
November 5, 2011
October 29, 2011
October 22, 2011
October 15, 2011
October 8, 2011
October 1, 2011
September 24, 2011
September 17, 2011
September 10, 2011
September 4, 2011
August 27, 2011
August 20, 2011
August 13, 2011
August 6, 2011
July 30, 2011
July 23, 2011
July 16, 2011
July 9, 2011
July 2, 2011
June 25, 2011
June 18, 2011
June 11, 2011
June 4, 2011
May 28, 2011
May 21, 2011
May 14, 2011
May 7, 2011
April 30, 2011
April 23, 2011
April 16, 2011
April 9, 2011
April 2, 2011
March 26, 2011
March 19, 2011
March 12, 2011
March 5, 2011
February 26, 2011
February 19, 2011
February 12, 2011
February 5, 2011
February 5, 2011
January 29, 2011
January 22, 2011
January 15, 2011
January 6, 2011

2010
December 25, 2010
December 18, 2010
December 11, 2010
December 4, 2010
November 27, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 13, 2010
November 6, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 23, 2010
October 16, 2010
October 9, 2010
October 2, 2010
September 25, 2010
September 18, 2010
September 11, 2010
September 4, 2010
August 28, 2010
August 21, 2010
August 14, 2010
August 7, 2010
July 31, 2010
July 24, 2010
July 17, 2010
July 10, 2010
July 3, 2010
June 26, 2010
June 19, 2010
June 12, 2010
June 5, 2010
May 29, 2010
May 22, 2010
May 15, 2010
May 8, 2010
May 1, 2010
April 24, 2010
April 17, 2010
April 10, 2010
April 3, 2010
March 27, 2010
March 20, 2010
March 13, 2010
March 6, 2010
February 27, 2010
February 20, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 6, 2010
January 30, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 9, 2010
January 2, 2010

2009
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 12, 2009
December 5, 2009
November 28, 2009
November 21, 2009
November 14, 2009
November 7, 2009
October 31, 2009
October 24, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 10, 2009
October 3, 2009
September 26, 2009
September 19, 2009
September 12, 2009
September 5, 2009
August 29, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 15, 2009
August 8, 2009
August 1, 2009
July 25, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 11, 2009
July 4, 2009
June 27, 2009
June 20, 2009
June 13, 2009
June 6, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 23, 2009
May 16, 2009
May 9, 2009
May 2, 2009
April 25, 2009
April 18, 2009
April 11, 2009
April 4, 2009
March 28, 2009
March 21, 2009
March 14, 2009
March 7, 2009
February 28, 2009
February 21, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 7, 2009
January 31, 2009
January 24, 2009
January 17, 2009
January 3, 2009

2008
December 27, 2008
December 20, 2008
December 13, 2008
December 6, 2008
November 29, 2008
November 22, 2008
November 15, 2008
November 8, 2008
November 5, 2008
November 1, 2008
October 25, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 4, 2008
September 27, 2008
September 20, 2008
September 13, 2008
September 6, 2008
August 30, 2008
August 23, 2008
August 16, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 2, 2008
July 26, 2008
July 19, 2008
July 12, 2008
July 5, 2008
June 28, 2008
June 21, 2008
June 14, 2008
June 7, 2008
May 31, 2008
May 24, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 10, 2008
May 3, 2008
April 26, 2008
April 19, 2008
April 12, 2008
April 5, 2008
March 29, 2008
March 22, 2008
March 15, 2008
March 8, 2008
March 1, 2008
February 23, 2008
February 16, 2008
February 9, 2008
February 2, 2008
January 26, 2008
January 19, 2008
January 12, 2008
January 5, 2008

2007
December 29, 2007
December 22, 2007
December 15, 2007
December 8, 2007
December 1, 2007
November 24, 2007
November 17, 2007
November 10, 2007
November 3, 2007
October 27, 2007
October 20, 2007
October 13, 2007
October 6, 2007
September 29, 2007
September 22, 2007
September 15, 2007
September 8, 2007
September 1, 2007
August 25, 2007
August 18, 2007
August 11, 2007
August 4, 2007
July 28, 2007
July 21, 2007
July 14, 2007
July 7, 2007
June 30, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 16, 2007
June 9, 2007
June 2, 2007
May 19, 2007
May 12, 2007
May 5, 2007
April 28, 2007
April 21, 2007
April 14, 2007
April 7, 2007
March 31, 2007
March 24, 2007
March 17, 2007
March 10, 2007
March 3, 2007
February 24, 2007
February 17, 2007
February 10, 2007
February 3, 2007
January 20, 2007
January 13, 2007
January 6, 2007

2006
December 30, 2006
December 23, 2006
December 16, 2006
December 9, 2006
December 2, 2006
November 25, 2006
November 18, 2006
November 11, 2006
November 4, 2006
October 28, 2006
October 21, 2006
October 14, 2006
October 7, 2006
September 30, 2006
September 23, 2006
September 16, 2006
September 9, 2006
September 2, 2006
August 26, 2006
August 19, 2006
August 12, 2006
August 5, 2006
July 29, 2006
July 22, 2006
July 15, 2006

 

 



September 12, 2009

We were all born naked and how we look when we meet our maker is not especially relevant. And in between, most people like to be covered, especially in public.

But not everybody. It’s summer, a time when even the prudish tend to doff their clothes, albeit in the privacy of their homes. It’s when naked bodies become public that the trouble begins.

By and large, nudists are seekers after freedom. "When I pop open the buttons on my jeans", raved one middle-aged member of the now-defunct Topanga resort, Elysium, "and when I feel the sun and air on my unclothed body, I feel the pleasure of just being".  The mantra of Elysium’s founder Ed Lange, was “nude is not lewd” even though many people believe the opposite.

Nevertheless, there is evidence that growing up around nakedness  goes a long way to removing the inhibitions about the body that plague most of us from adolescence onwards. Elysium, like many nudist resorts, was a family place and many people brought their kids, some of whom--although usually unself-conscious--initially tended to be more inhibited about exhibiting themselves than did their parents.

But there's little doubt that nudity is a healthy lifestyle, mentally a well as physically, so why do so many people get so upset by the sight of the naked body? The recent examples we have seen here locally, especially the furore over the promise by EarthFriend Gen and her cohorts to infiltrate last month’s Independence Day parade, contradict any suggestion that Ojai is a live-and-let-live sort of place. One knife-wielding objector even threatened to cut a naked participant.

Do men like him feel their masculinity threatened in some incalculable way? And do some of them blow their tops in public but take active pleasure from enjoying pornography in private? One reader of our local Ojai Valley News has accused Gen of “naked narcissism” commenting that Ojai’s tolerance was “not eternal”. Another countered: “Lighten up people. Enjoy the view or look the other way”.

      Gen, 32, who calls herself a social artist and environmental activist, responds “It’s always adults moaning about how something might harm the children. But it’s adults who have poisoned the world. It’s a word of hypocrisy and it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Nakedness represents freedom. America is supposed to be the land of the free but is actually one of the most repressed and obsessed societies. It’s in denial”.

   Many people have a peculiar antipathy to nudists, prompted  by deep misunderstandings and probably some undefined fear. Their attitude manifests itself with feeble jokes and false assumptions that mask an underlying fascination.

California’s San Onofre beach, which had welcomed nudists for generations, slunk back into the news when a new Parks Superintendent said that nakedness would be banned following complaints from “shocked” visitors. The obvious question to be asked, again and again, is why people felt they had to go and be shocked by conduct that they could avoid by going elsewhere.

What’s with it with prudes? The old joke comes to mind about the woman who complained to the police about seeing her naked neighbor undressing in his home across the street. When an office dropped by to check it out and said he couldn’t see anything, the lady replied: “Oh, you have to stand on this chair”.

      Last month, the New York Times devoted half a page to letters responding to a story about whether young children should stay covered up. Opting to raise their children and grandchildren “with an open, matter-of-fact approach to the human body” wrote one, had been very beneficial because “they respect the sensibilities of others but would prefer skinny-dipping to a sandy swimsuit… if given the choice”. Another claimed that, lacking any hang-ups about him being naked as a child, ”my son is very comfortable with his own body and is very confident in himself”.

And a lady from Maryland got to the crux of the matter. “Commercial and pop culture fuels a paranoia about the naked human body” she wrote. “Somehow, the normal and beautiful human body functioning as it should (swimming naked, breast-feeding) is dirty and offensive, whereas highly sexualized bodies (revealing bikinis, women draped over cars, fashion porn, Bratz dolls) are perfectly appropriate for children to see. It’s perverse”.

A few years back the Economist reported that “nudity is advancing on all fronts in America and that the percentage of Americans “who have tried nude sunbathing in the presence of others” had increased from 15 to 20% in the previous year. Fundamentalists had chased skinny dippers out of most Southern states, the story continued, but elsewhere the picture was bright: nude cruises were filled, the Naturist Association’s guide to nude beaches sold a quarter of a million copies, attempts by undercover policemen (wearing swimsuits) have “provoked more ridicule than fear” and nude sunbathing in Florida, once banned, was making a comeback. “Miami also permits top free bathing now; if it did not, it would probably lose many of the European tourists who flock to its beaches”.

Anybody who has spent time around nudists is well aware that they represent a fair cross-section of the population with all its blemishes, beauty and imperfections. Aspiring nudists have well-charted fears--for men that they will get an embarrassing, unwanted erection, and for women that they are overweight. (I can't remember ever meeting a woman who didn't believe she was overweight). Both these fears are unwarranted because, apart from their desire to be naked, nudists are unfortunately just like every-body else. I say 'unfortunately' because many of the people we meet are boringly unimaginative, and nudists are certainly no exception. My personal opinion is that most folk are bizarre in at least one specific way and nudists, using up their quota on being nudist, are otherwise disappointingly conventional.

So, as we could hardly regard them as a threat, why not just leave them alone?

[John Wilcock is currently touring the Norwegian fjords]

9/05/09

===========================

comments? send an email to John Wilcock

===========================

TOP

      return to top
       

© 2006-2013 ojaiorange.com | web design by David Buehrens